It's 3AM and it's one of those nights when I lie awake and can't fall asleep because too much is going on in my head.
I thought the best way to find peace is writing down my thoughts and maybe in the future when people ask me why I left I can just forward to this post instead of typing the answer all over again.
(I apologize for my English in advance, it's not my native language.)
So for those of you who don't know me, I've been an avid fan of Dong Bang Shin Ki (short: DBSK; also known as TVXQ internationally or Tohoshinki in Japan) since 2008 when I first discovered Kpop. Cassiopeia, their fanclub was the fandom I had joined and identified with for the past 10 years and to say they changed my life would be an understatement. DBSK and Cassiopeia brought me so much joy and I met wonderful people along the way who became my closest friends and who I shared amazing moments with. It was the best time of my life but also turned into the saddest thing a fangirl could ever experience.
If you're a new Kpop fan and have never heard of them, let me tell you a little story...
Back in 2003, DBSK debuted in Korea under SM Entertainment and became the best selling Kpop group of the 2nd generation. They were the group who made it into the Guinness Book of Records for having the biggest registered fanclub in the world (with over 800 000 members) and also the main reason for the Hallyu Wave which made Kpop famous world wide long before Gangnam Style. They also went to Japan for a while, learned to speak Japanese fluently and became respected Jpop artists who paved the way for 3rd generation idols to be able to debut there as well.
Dong Bang Shin Ki had 5 members: Junsu, Yoochun, Jaejoong, Changmin and Yunho. Our smart maknae Changmin came up with our fanclub name. If you look at your keyboard and connect T V f X Q (Tong Vfang Xien Qi in Chinese) you'll get the constellation for Cassiopeia which as we know consists of 5 stars, just like our beloved DBSK.
Our fanclub color was red and we wore it proudly. Red was, is and will always be our identity that's why it hurt a lot when YG decided to use it for iKON. But that's another story. Let me just say I know that colors are limited and that nobody "owns" a color but if you associate red with Cassiopeia for over 15 years it's difficult to give it away.
Anyway, back to our little history lesson...
When Suju and DBSK were still trainees SM chose the best 5 vocals and DBSK was born. The rest of the members became Super Junior who we Cassies also love dearly. (ELF and Cassiopeia are called Pepsi fandom for a reason)
In the next years after debut DBSK went through a lot of hardships. The worst was probably when a sasaeng tried to kill Yunho by giving him a drink with glue in it. Luckily that b*tch didn't succeed and the band continued their journey and made history by breaking record after record.
The members were super close and because they went through a lot they were more than just a group, they were like family, like brothers.
Two of them were even rumored to be more than that. (In case you never heard of the most famous ship in kpop, google: Yunjae)
Our fanfics were so popular, SM even made a movie about it called 'Dangerous Love'. (You can download it here.)
To this day the hardcore Yunjae shippers believe they're real and continue to create fanarts and
When "Mirotic" was released it was the peek of their career. We really had it all. I can't tell you how much this era changed Kpop but it did. Fans all around the world did flashmobs to this song, everyone knew the fan chants. It's the most iconic Kpop song, like "Everybody" was for the Backstreet Boys. Everyone knew it.
Now.... (take a deep breath)
Imagine the band you love so much, imagine BTS, MONSTA X, GOT7 or whoever is popular and very close by the time you read this, having all that history for 7 whole years, almost a decade.
You grew up with them, laughed and cried with them, shared all those unforgettable memories with them... and one morning you wake up to the news that: half the group sues their label and wants to get out of their slave contract (they used to be 13 years long and really fucked up) while 2 of the members want to stay.
Imagine yourself reading this headline out of nowhere without a hint of warning and thinking "This got to be a joke". You don't understand what's happening. All you know is there is a lawsuit because half the band is fed up with their company and the other half is not saying a single word.
And the worst part?
You will spend the rest of your life waiting for an answer.
You heard me right.
The leader of your favorite group who you love and trust and who promised to keep the band together, stays silent forever while his boss makes sure to make the life of the members who sued a living hell. (JYJ won the lawsuit but are still blocked from music shows that SM controls, which is basically every single one.)
But because you have a big heart you believe in your members. All of them. You continue supporting the ones who left and formed a new group (now called JYJ) because they told you to "Always Keep The Faith". A motto that is engraved in our hearts as well as our skin.
Not only did 2 members of JYJ get this tattooed right after the lawsuit, many fans also followed their example because it was the hope that kept us going. This phrase made us believe in reunion. And while the remaining members kept their silence and didn't explain their part of their story (as opposed to JYJ who had been very vocal about their feelings for their brothers and explained many times that the problem was with the company not with the members) as a Cassiopeia we believed in the good and interpreted it as a way of them wanting to protect the other side.
So about a year or two after this mess the group with the 2 members who stayed decides to have a comeback and continue their career with the name that was carried by 5 members for almost a decade!
But you think "hey they just want to keep the name alive, to protect it and make sure that future fans won't forget them and their past. And maybe when the lawsuit is over they might even be able to fix things.
But what else can a decade long fan believe in if not for the bond of the members?
But the reality is an ugly one.
Not only did my favorite group split and never reunite but neither did my fandom.
What followed was a huge mess of nasty fan war between TVXQ!duo stans vs. JYJ stans vs. All-fans (also referred to as "OT5").
Guess which camp I belonged to.
For 7 years (in addition to the 3 years pre-split) I continued supporting both sides. I bought all their albums, went to as many concerts as I could afford, I also created this blog to help new fans find their old videos that are deleted from the internet. I never doubted in their friendship and just accepted that they need time to heal. That one day we would get our answer. And when our oppas went to the army in 2015, Yunjae actually met in public for the first time in 5 years. (We always blamed SM and were convinced it was forbidden)
You can imagine our surprise when the rules didn't apply in the army anymore. For us OT5s and Yunjae shippers this was the best day since forever.
And when Jaejoong returned from the army he kept giving hints by posting his TVXQ tattoo or picture of Cassiopeia constellation with the caption "keep the faith." But now I think it's just him being emoshinki just like the rest of us.
He's the biggest OT5 and I'm sure if anyone will bring the band together one day, it's going to be Jaejoong.
Now it all sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
Except the fact that when Yunho and Changmin returned from the army this year, they continued ignoring JYJ in public like they had been doing before. It's been 7 years guys and to say we're tired of waiting would be an understatement!! But since OT5s are good at waiting, we stopped expecting things. We accepted this reality and love to blame and curse SM while we continue to support our TVXQ!duo even though their newest singles are not as good as they used to be. (In my opinion they're pretty bad compared to the stuff from the past.)
(I'm sorry but it's the truth)
And here comes the big fuck up that changed my perspective and made me seek happiness in a new fandom.
For the new album Yunho and Changmin not only re-recorded our favorite ballad songs of the 5 (Bolero, Doushite and Begin). They also made a new MV for 'Begin'.
Please let that sink in for a moment.
Instead of letting the past freaking rest and (crazy idea) write new songs, they decide to open up old wounds again by re-recording THE MOST ICONIC OT5 BALLADS!!! What comes next? Mirotic???
Imagine 10 years from now, you look forward to your group's comeback and they greet you with a new MV of just 2 members singing your group's biggest song and an album with more re-recorded songs of the past, while the label makes sure to change all thumbnails of their old MVs on Youtube making it look like the original members never existed.
Cause that's exactly what SM is doing right now and mind you YH & CM are both SM shareholders, meaning they ARE part of SM and sure as hell have a saying in their decisions when it involves their music.
And you know what?
They. Don't. Care!
I tried so hard all those years to excuse their decisions with "SM made them do it." But I'm sorry I can't do that anymore.
If you had even a little respect for your fellow brothers who you made HISTORY with, really big achievements and also respect for the OT5 fans who have been supporting you blindly after all the silence you gave them the past 7 years, who never asked anything in return besides some gratitude, you would not be okay erasing JYJ from your past.
You would let it rest and give us closure.
Don't we deserve at least that much?
How fucked up would it be if Mike from Linkin Park decided to re-record all LP songs now that Chester is gone? (R.I.P ♥) He would never do that. Respect the past and move on. That's what you do. But for Yunho and Changmin 7 years mean nothing apparently.
I'll be honest with you I almost forgot the happy parts of Kpop. I almost forgot how excited and happy I was when I joined the TVXQ fandom back in 2008 because that is so long ago and the past 7 years have been full of drama, tears and nostalgia. It's always a rollercoaster of emotions from "yay AKTF" to "oh shit not this again" but the negative feelings outweigh the positive ones. And I didn't sign up for this.
Now the duo stans will laugh again and say "well it's your own fault" but just like you had your version of the truth we had ours. Everyone believed what he wanted to believe and we decided to believe in their friendship. We didn't want to give up on that. 7 years (+ trainee years) is a long time and if you have that history and family bond you don't just throw it away.
And I'm so sad I reached my limit but realize this: Music and fandoms are supposed to make you feel good. Bands exist because we fans exist. And only those who appreciate and love their fans deserve a big career. I don't feel loved and appreciated by my own TVXQ oppas. If they cared for my feelings, they would not do such a thing.
As some of you know I found my happiness again in BTS fandom and something Namjoon said the other day made me tear up and love him even more. It was after they won an award at the MAMAs, he came online right after and the first thing he tweeted was an apology to international fans because he forgot to thank us in English. Which he shouldn't even have to do but that's how much he cares about us and the next day at the MMA Awards when they won another trophy he thanked us in English first. You could clearly see he was really sorry and made sure we felt loved. We don't deserve this man. ♥ That's a true leader right there.
Or look at Yongguk from B.A.P who waited for Zelo to turn 18 before they sued TS. They sued together and made it work. Look at Shinhwa who had the balls to leave as a group even tho some members were offered solo contracts. (If you haven't watched the Win Win episodes it's a must watch. Eric is the best.) Why could we never have this? We'll never know.
I remembered why I stanned DBSK in the past and it was because we were united. We were like a team. We had a bond. (I also liked Big Bang's music but I decided to stan DBSK for a reason, it was different. Then everything changed.)
I hope one day they will remember me and you. And then I promise I'll be there. Everyone deserves a second chance. Until then I won't be part of this drama anymore.
Life is too short to fill it with negativity. My feelings matter.
Yours matter too!
Don't let anyone tell you you're a hater or not a real fan if you have the same opinion as me. We know who we are. And sometimes we gotta be honest and give ourselves a break.
Until we meet again TVXQ.
You’re dreaming a different dream
We are broken into two pieces
In the short film of our memories
The feelings that made us laugh and cry have dried up, nothing remains
Can’t we even smile now? You’re so difficult
It would be better if you were a stranger